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Tour de France stage 7 - Live coverage

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Hello there and welcome along to our live coverage of the Tour de France. It's stage 7 today, and we have a stage that takes us closer to the Pyrenees this weekend. It's lumpy in the first half, but the downhill and flat second half should lend itself to a bunch sprint. Hang on, though, this stage, running largely south west towards Toulouse, exposes itself to the local south-easterly Autan wind, which forecasts predict to be out in force this afternoon...

Here's the stage profile. The wind will be coming from the side for most of the day, and the run down from the Col de Peyronnenc is where things could get interesting. The route changes direction at Castres, tracking west but slightly north, which would turn it into a more of a tail-crosswind. It will all depend on the strength of the wind later on, and whether we have the exposed roads needed to split the race into echelons. The riders will be on high alert for sure. 

The podium ceremony is well underway in Millau, and the riders will be rolling out at 13:25 local time, so in around half an hour. Christian Prudhomme will wave the stage underway some 10 minutes after that. 

Before we get going, why not catch up on yesterday's action. Report, results, photos all in the link below. 

Want to know more about wind? My colleague and certified wind nerd Ed Pickering has done a thread.

"I am probably the most nervous rider on the team this morning," says Groupama-FDJ's Stefan Kung. 

In last night's communiqué, the race organisers warned of gusts of 30-40km/h today. That looks like slightly wishful thinking, but most forecasts I've seen have it in the high 20s. 

Coronavirus talk dominated the build-up to this Tour de France, but we've not heard much of it since the race set out from Nice last weekend. Well, it has resurfaced after yesterday's climb up the Col de la Lusette, where numerous riders felt there were too many fans, getting too close, with too few masks. 

Some preview goodness from our friends at Procycling magazine

The riders have gathered on the start line. It wasn't just Mitchelton-Scott on the rollers - plenty of teams were warming up this morning. That's usually a sign we're in for a fast start, with plenty of interest in a breakaway. 

Two days ago, of course, we had no breakaway whatsoever, which Yoann Offredo seemed to take great offense at. Others reached for mitigating circumstances like the parcours, the wind, the difficulty of the stages either side, and the fact that even smaller teams have top sprinters and GC riders, but that wasn't good enough for Yoann, who famously attacked solo from 200km on the 2018 Tour. 

We're on the move - just rolling through the short neutralised section at the moment. 

A run-down of today's jerseys before we get underway

It's an uphill start today, then a dip down, then straight into a cat-3 climb, the Côte de Luzencon (3.1km at 6.1%).

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) is at the front of the bunch as they follow the race director's car through this neutralised zone. The Belgian has become a bit of a cliche when it comes to talk of breakaways, but Lotto Soudal have Caleb Ewan for a sprint today and will prefer to set that up rather than seeing a breakaway go all the way today. 

We're off!

No one attacks from the gun, but now mountains classification leader Cosnefroy is on the move. 

No one's tempted to join Cosnefroy. 

And now we get a reaction, as four riders clip off the front. It's far from an intense start. 

Those four are quickly caught by the bunch. They never looked too committed to that anyway. 

But now one of them, Michael Schar (CCC Team), goes again. Total Direct Energie respond - they look keener to go in the break today. 

Schär makes it across to Cosnefroy as the road tilts downhill. 

Lilian Calmejane is the Total rider stuck between break and bunch. 

Cosnefroy and Schär hit the Côte de Luzençon with a lead of just 15 seconds. Cosnefroy will of course want to take the two KOM points at the top, but will he commit to a daylong break thereafter? There are more than 50km to the following cat-3 climb. 

Cosnefroy accelerates 2.3km from the summit and Schär swings over and calls it a day. 

Bora are on the front and are setting a strong tempo, looking to make it difficult here for the other sprinters. 

It's working... Nizzolo is dropped, and now Ewan...

There's an intermediate sprint coming up at KM58, so Sagan will no doubt fancy that. Whether they can get rid of the sprinters altogether, considering that flat run-in, seems a much taller order. 

Cosnefroy has just a handful of seconds in hand now as he enters the final 750m of the climb. 

We've got flag-bearing fans on the road side and we can see the wind is blowing. 

Mads Pedersen, Cees Bol, and Elia Viviani among the riders losing contact

Cosnefroy is going to get caught here!

The Frenchman is passed by the Bora train in sight of the banner. He launches a huge sprint and they just allow him to get his nose out in front to grab the two points. He gives a wave in thanks. 

Green jersey Sam Bennett is also in trouble

Ewan is in the last group on the road, with a couple of teammates. There's a long way to go but this could easily get out of hand. 

Here's how Bora nearly robbed Cosnefroy at the top of that climb. 

Bora continue the charge as we head downhill for a couple of kilometres before an uncategorised 7km climb. 

All the GC riders seem to be in the main Bora-led peloton. Just the sprinters who are on the back foot. 

Will the sprinters come back? If those small sprinters groups come together and they get teammates around them to mount a concerted chase, then yes. Bora are piling on the pressure still but surely they'd need help from other interested parties to take this the distance. CCC have Van Avermaet and Trentin who could profit from this, but do they have (m)any other riders in there? Trek-Segafredo have lost Pedersen but still have Theuns and Stuyven who could sprint from a reduced group. 

Kasper Asgreen sits up in the lead group. It appears he's being sent back for Sam Bennett. 

Bennett gives a thumbs up as the camera motorbike passes by. He doesn't seem overly panicked at this point. 

That'll be because his group is just 25 seconds down, and he now has Asgreen to pull it along. Meanwhile, Bol and Viviani are in a third group at 1 minute, while Ewan, Nizzolo and Kristoff are at 1:25. 

The Bennett group is coming back to the front group now. 

It looks like Sunweb are sending more riders back for the Bol group

Bora are still riding hard, and we have exposed roads here...

Bennett's group looked to be getting back on, but Bora have eased clear once more. EF are leading that group, with Martinez in there. 

We're on the uncategorised climb now and it's really biting. 

The second group splits now! Bennett has Asgreen but Declercq is struggling on those gradients. 

Deceuninck-QuickStep have a headache here as they still need to make sure they have some resources with Alaphilippe, as crosswinds could tear up this stage later on. 

Bora have drive clear daylight into this gap once more. They still have almost their whole team on the front. 

Bol and Viviani are now back with Ewan, Nizzolo, and Kristoff. That group is at 1:45 now!

142km to go

Sunweb and Lotto are collaborating in the third group. 

We're heading through more built-up areas now and we're back on flatter roads for the best part of 15km. Bora still on it. 

This is Bora's line-up. It's hardly a squad built for the flat/wind or built purely around Sagan anymore. Buchmann is the GC leader, with Muhlberger and Grossschartner providing climbing support. Oss is Sagan's right-hand man, Postlberger is another rouleur, while Schachmann and Kamna can do a bit of everything. 

136km to go

We're heading towards another uncategorised but (at this pace) nasty climb, then we descend to the intermediate sprint at KM58, then it's the long Col de Peyronnenc, which at 3.9% isn't the steepest but at 14.5km could well issue more damage.

Alaphilippe waves furiously at a moto camera in the lead group. He doesn't want any aerodynamic advantage for his own group, given he'd like to see Bennett return. Back in that chase group, it's Jungels and Cavagna burying themselves, while Bennett is a few places down the line with Declercq. 

Adam Yates is present and correct in the lead group but Mitchelton-Scott have men in the second group, and they're riding with QuickStep. They need numbers up with Yates, for one, but also Daryl Impey is back there and could be a contender on a stage like this, if the pure sprinters are out of the equation. 

131km to go

People had been complaining this Tour was boring...

The green jersey group slips back to more than a minute now...

Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) is reported in the front group. He's the only pure sprinter in there. Stage 5 winner Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) is there, obviously. 

Back out onto the exposed plains and the gaps grow to 1:10 / 2:45. The wind is blowing but it's more of a head-cross wind at the moment. 

Jungels and Asgreen continue to toil on the front of the chase group but they're struggling against this committed and constantly rotating Bora unit. 

The gap moves to 1:35 as the pace visibly drains from that chase group. Jungels is suffering, he looks around and sees Impey and other Mitchelton riders, plus Luke Rowe from Ineos, but there's no help from them at the moment. It's pretty much Jungels and Asgreen against the full Bora team, and the numbers are counting. 

We're on that uncategorised climb now and there are once again some really nasty gradients. 

The gap continues to grow. 1:45 now. Meanwhile, Ewan and co are at 3:30. 

Sorry for another Pickering tweet but the man is on form today. 

Want to watch this madness? Of course you do. Here's how.

115km to go

Trentin is in this group and has shown an interest in intermediate sprints before today. Can't see too much other competition for Sagan. Coquard maybe. 

The green jersey group is now more than two minutes down. Ewan's third group is at 4:20. 

Time for the sprint then. Bora still in full force on the front. Trentin and Coquard move up

Trentin hits the front and Sagan responds. It's neck-and-neck on the line, with Coquard third. 

Trentin nicks it, picking up 20 points to Sagan's 17. 

Alaphilippe accelerated there as well, presumably to try and scoop some points away from the others in defence of Bennett's green jersey, but he was never going to trouble Sagan and Trentin. 

109km to go

Jumbo-Visma have seven of their eight riders in the front group, in another strong display from the Dutch team. However, it's their best flat-land/crosswind rider, Tony Martin, who's behind in the second group. 

Ineos, meanwhile, have six riders up front and, like Jumbo, it's their best echelon rider who's behind, with Luke Rowe in the second group. Pavel Sivakov, who's been struggling since his crash on the opening day, is back in the third group. 

What a ride this is from Bora, who've been on the front all day. On current evidence, they deserve their rewards today. Watch Wout Van Aert mug them off at the finish...

Still, there's plenty that can happen on the rest of this stage, with the potential for crosswind damage later on. So far it's the sprinters who've been hurt but this could well still turn out to be a big GC day. 

105km to go

Bora appear to have looked at the gaps and relaxed a little. They haven't knocked it off, and it's still a strong rhythm on this climb, but the sense of urgency has waned slightly. The Bennett group has found a touch more group at 2:27.

This is how the intermediate sprint played out

Yesterday was a non-event as far as the GC is concerned but there was one interesting development, as Bauke Mollema claimed he heard Egan Bernal yelling at Michal Kwiatkowski to slow down as the sprinted for the line. The Colombian came into the race with a back injury and there have been doubts about his fitness. More on that here

Tom Dumoulin has a problem of some sort and has to stop for a bike change. 

Dumoulin will have no problem getting back through the cars and up to the bunch, 6.5km from the top of this climb. 

100km to go

Declercq is on the front of the chase group on this climb, 3km from the top. That gives Asgreen and Jungels a break, but the big Belgian is not going to be able to eat into this gap. 3:30 now and it's only going one way. 

They come to the top of the Col de Peyronnenc, and Coquard's B&B team take over at the front of the lead group. That's the first time any team other than Bora have been on the front. 

Attack from De Gendt! The Belgian clips off in sight of the KOM banner and takes the two points on offer. Was that just for the points or is he planning a break? Ewan, remember, is out of the equation at nearly 7 minutes.

De Gendt is pushing on... This would be outrageous

92km to go

Meanwhile, Jungels takes the Bennett group over the top of the climb, 4 minutes in arrears and surely without hope now. 

De Gendt is alone out front, with a lead of 16 seconds. There are a fair few false flats and a couple more actual climbs but this is a largely downhill run to Castres. 

Sean Kelly can't get his head around De Gendt's move in the Eurosport studio. "An amateur move", he calls it. He's similarly unimpressed/perplexed by the absence of Bennett - his fellow Irishman and Carrick-on-Suir native - from this front group. "Coquard is there!" he exclaims, concluding Bennett must be on a bad day. 

Crash in the lead group. Hugo Hofstetter (Israel) hits the deck, along with Marc Soler (Movistar). They're both back on their bikes. 

78km to go

71km to go

De Gendt reaches the top. It's a cat-4 climb so that's another KOM point to add to his two from the previous climb. 

The lead peloton comes over the top 35 seconds later. 

Project Fear. That's what Philippa York is calling Jumbo-Visma's influence on this race so far. 

Hang on, though. Bradley Wiggins says Dave Brailsford won't let Ineos be bullied, describing their decidedly steady tempo on the Col de la Lusette as "a statement of intent". Full story

63km to go

De Gendt continues to carve out an advantage as a result of the slower tempo. He has 42 seconds now. 

We're just under 15km from Castres, where the road flattens out but where the wind picks up and the roads are more exposed. The wind is certainly blowing, but not blowing a gale. It seems to be mostly an almost direct tailwind, rather than a proper cross-tail.

De Gendt had 50 seconds a moment ago but now he's been brought back to 36 seconds as Bora pick it up once more. 

It seems the wind is hitting the lead group from the side right now, as Bora really pick up the tempo, and get themselves into echelon formation. 

FDJ sense the danger and bring Pinot to the front. 

Puncture for Mollema. Not a good time for that. 

And now a mechanical for Pogacar.

A quick change for the rim-braked UAE rider. He's on his way back, as Mollema gets back on. 

50km to go

We've spoken about Jumbo and Ineos, but FDJ also have seven of their eight riders here. Bahrain McLaren, Astana, and Movistar also have decent numbers. 

Several soigneurs have chosen this as a feed zone and so it's musette time in the main peloton. That allows De Gendt to move out to 50 seconds once more. 

44km to go

Hofstetter's shorts are badly ripped after that crash and he gets a hand of support on the back from a teammate. The French sprinter was fourth on the opening day and could be a dark horse here. He won Le Samyn earlier this year with a strong sprint after a tough day.

And now Ineos take it up on the other side of the road to Jumbo. The rivalry is symbolised as they take opposite ways round the roundabout. 

Ineos and Jumbo taking it up is a sign things are snapping back into life again. Everyone's aware of the threat of the wind on this 40km run-in to Lavaur. 

De Gendt is still out there but his lead is 30 seconds and falling. The cameras keep panning back to the Bennett group at 6 minutes but they're an irrelevance now. 

Problems for Landa! Not sure what happened there.

Landa, Bilbao, and Mohoric get caught in a three-man Bahrain tangle. Landa gets back on his way pretty quickly but Ineos have upped the pace once more. Not good from Landa, who's had a stress-free start to this Tour but always does something wrong. He was one of the crosswind victims in Albi last year.

38.5km to go

It's Van Baarle on the front for Ineos as they head through a town. It's built-up so no wind threat here. De Gendt has 15 seconds. 

It's not full gas just yet so Landa should make it back on, if he hasn't already.

We head back out onto the open roads now and this is where it could hot up again. De Gendt is about to be caught

35.5km to go

Kwiatkowski, a master of last year's crosswinds, takes it up and this is stretching!

We've got a few trees but it's an exposed road and the wind is a cross-tail! Splits already! 

The splits are happening further down the group. At the front, Alaphilippe comes through and does a turn. 

Plenty of domestiques on the wrong side of the splits - Gaudu, Reichenbach, Gesink, and others. Haven't see any GC contenders caught out yet. 

Race leader Adam Yates comes through at the front now. He may be putting his nose in the wind but it's worth the effort to stay on the right side of any splits. 

The lead peloton has now split in three. 

We do have damage!

Still 31km to go and at this pace those three riders are in real trouble here. 

Trentin and Van Avermaet are also in the second split. Nightmare for CCC, who have numbers and no excuse

The second group with Pogacar and Landa is already 35 seconds down! Wow...

If Landa hasn't learned his lesson from Albi last year, Pinot has. His teammates are taking control now, exchanging turns with Ineos up front. 

Mollema is also caught out. He's also in the second group. Nightmare for Trek as well. 

The front group is riding hard, with Astana and EF also helping drive this along. 

24km to go

Jumbo's climbers are throwing themselves into this echelon as Landa, Pogacar, Mollema, Porte slip to 55 seconds. 

Astana look really good here. Yesterday's winner Lutsenko doesn't seem to be feeling the effects. 

Still more than 30 riders up front as we come onto a less exposed section of the course, through a village. There's no let-up, though, as a few big names have been caught out and the rest can come together to ensure the damage. 

Coquard, Sagan, and Van Aert are still in the front split. 

The second and third splits have come back together and so we have two large groups a minute apart with 19km to go 

The gap has stabilised now as FDJ take it up in the front group. 

Carapaz dropped. Not sure how that happened but the Ineos rider is alone, 40 seconds down on the lead group.

Carapaz punctured. He won't be seeing the front of the race again. Ineos can't afford to drop anyone back. 

15km to go

Carapaz started the day 41 seconds down on GC. 

Well, Ineos have dropped a rider back for Carapaz. It's Castroviejo, who now has to use his TTing skills to close a 36-second gap. It's a surprise they've taken a rider away from Bernal like that, and it's a sign Carapaz is to be used as a plan-B, despite losing time at Orcières-Merlette. 

12.5km to go and it's out onto the open road once more. It seems we've got a pretty much direct tailwind now, as the lead group is working to keep the gaps rather than split the race again. Chasing in a tailwind is a thankless task, and the second split - Landa, Pogacar, Mollema, Porte - are simply in damage limitation mode.

The gap to that split is out to 1:15 now. 

Flanders champion Bettiol is up there with Uran, and EF also have Higuita there. Martinez was dropped a long time ago. 

10km to go

Carapaz and Castroviejo slip to 55 seconds. 

FDJ continue to drive this one forward, in what is something of a redemption tale after last year. Jumbo and Astana are still riding, but Ineos, with Carapaz chasing, have stopped rolling through. 8km to go!

It looks like this group will stay in tact until the line, but who will win the stage? Van Aert has to be the favourite, although Sagan arguably deserves it given Bora have single-handedly made this race today. Coquard is a real threat, though. 

Coquard has a huge opportunity here. He's twice finished second at the Tour - famously in that photo finish against Kittel in 2016, but hasn't even raced the Tour since then. It would be a huge win too for Jerome Pineau's B&B Hotels-Vital Concept team on their Tour debut.

5.5km to go and the second group have stopped the rot, stabilising the gap at 1:15. 

Carapaz and Castroviejo are absorbed into the second split at 1:15. 

FDJ, Astana, and Jumbo continue to collaborate on the run-in. It'll get messy in the finale here. Jumbo have the most numbers so we'll see how they play this in terms of setting up Van Aert for the sprint. 

UAE have three riders with Pogacar, while Landa also has a couple of men chipping in, but they're at 1:20 and taking a huge blow here.

2.5km to go and FDJ continue their work. That'll be a much happier bus today. 

2km banner now. Boasson Hagen, Laporte, and Stuyven are in there and are possible wildcards for this sprint.

The road narrows as we head into the final kilometre! Here we go! FDJ still on the front

NTT take it up now for Boasson Hagen

It's a lead-out for NTT, but Alaphilippe is sprinting now!

Alaphilippe has to stop and waves his arm in remonstration. The sprint continues and it's Coquard against Van Aert

Van Aert takes it!

What a sprint from the Belgian, who takes his second stage win of this Tour. Coquard was coming up on the left but Boasson Hagen held firm for second place down the middle

Watch the clock now... the second group comes home... 1:20 down. 

Alaphilippe clashed with Stuyven in that sprint. That'll be one to keep an eye on. 

Sagan finished outside the top 10 there. He had a wild sprint, looking boxed in on the right before swinging over to the left, stopping, and then sprinting a bit again. After all Bora's work, that's a disappointing end. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Results
PlaceRider (Country) TeamResult
1Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma03:32:03
2Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) NTT Pro CyclingRow 1 - Cell 2
3Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital ConceptRow 2 - Cell 2
4Christophe Laporte (Fra) CofidisRow 3 - Cell 2
5Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-SegafredoRow 4 - Cell 2
6Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R la MondialeRow 5 - Cell 2
7Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-Up NationRow 6 - Cell 2
8Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos GrenadiersRow 7 - Cell 2
9Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-ScottRow 8 - Cell 2
10Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 9 - Cell 2
Swipe to scroll horizontally
General Classification
PlaceRider (Country) TeamResult
1Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott30:36:00
2Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma00:00:03
3Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis00:00:09
4Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers00:00:13
5Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma00:00:13
6Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic00:00:13
7Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale00:00:13
8Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro Team00:00:13
9Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ00:00:13
10Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Pro Cycling00:00:13

Here's the sprint

Coquard there...

LAVAUR FRANCE SEPTEMBER 04 Arrival Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team Jumbo Visma Celebration during the 107th Tour de France 2020 Stage 7 a 168km stage from Millau to Lavaur TDF2020 LeTour on September 04 2020 in Lavaur France Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

A couple of jersey changes today. Adam Yates is still in yellow, but Sagan takes green from Bennett, and Bernal takes white from Pogacar. 

Let's hear from our winner

"It was not a great day for us because we lost most of the team in the split," says Alaphilippe. 

Here's our report page

Let's hear from Sagan, courtesy of France Télévisions

The yellow jersey speaks

We've gathered all the snap post-stage reaction into one place, so head to the link below for Pogacar, Sagan, Van Aert and more. 

Full results are in

Tour de France 2020 107th Edition 7th stage Millau Lavaur 168 km 04092020 Bora Hansgrohe photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2020

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

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